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Dave Mustaine's righteous path

Tragic hero
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  August 24, 2011

back talk mustaine

There may not be a more tragic figure in heavy metal history than Dave Mustaine. Ousted for partying too much from a band that would soon earn the nickname "Alcoholica," he founded Megadeth only to watch it, in his mind (and detailed in last year's memoir Mustaine), be totally eclipsed by the enormous shadow cast by Metallica's success as he battled the drugs and alcohol that nearly derailed his career. Now sober, the ginger frontman is not only sharing a bill with Metallica, but the stage in an end-of-the-night jam to celebrate the Big Four, along with Slayer and Anthrax, and commemorating 30 years of pioneering thrash by playing select gigs around the world, including New York's Yankee Stadium next month.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE STATE OF METAL TODAY? The state of metal today is kind of relative. If you're part of the Big Four, you're doing safe; if you're not, you're pretty much going to be scratching and clawing to be successful nowadays. You know, there are a lot of really great bands that are out, but there is also a glut of talentless bands that have appealed to a younger generation at a time when guitar solos weren't important and times where singing with a melodic voice and more importantly, words that you can understand, those things aren't really important anymore to bands and I think that's probably why they have a born on date.

DO YOU STAY ON TOP OF THE SCENE, FOLLOWING THE NEW BANDS? Not really; because they're here today, gone later today. There are bands that I like, but usually it's a song that I like. There's guys out here on the [recently ended] Mayhem Fest that I'm friends with like In Flames and Machine Head, and I like several Machine Head songs and a couple In Flames songs, but other than that, there's not anybody else that I'm really familiar with. And I've heard Godsmack and Disturbed on the radio — who hasn't? But I don't really know a lot of their songs.

WITH METAL FANS, DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT'S MORE OF A PIECEMEAL CONSUMPTION RATHER THAN "LET'S GO GET A FULL RECORD FROM THIS BAND"? I think a lot of that has to do with the integrity of the musician himself and the manipulation of the record company and the ability to buffer that between the artist and the label, which is the manager's job. If you've got a record and it consists of 11 or 12 tracks and you've only got one or two good songs on it, well, yeah, you're going to continue to perpetuate the piecemeal mentality.

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Related: Why there won't ever be another 'Big Four' - and why that's a good thing, Rediscovering Metallica with a new bio, Guitar Hero: Metallica, More more >
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